The SOMM Journal

August / September 2018

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Page 79 of 124

{ } 79 A Sixth-Generation Crusade in the Barossa Valley In Friday morning's second tasting seminar, five Australian panelists discussed wines from Hoffmann Vineyards in Australia's historic Barossa Valley. Moderator Chuck Hayward of Vinroads noted that Barossa has the oldest Grenache plantings in the world, grown mainly on a non- trellised "Aussie-sprawl" system. Grower Adrian Hoffmann described his efforts to preserve his family's farm, which has been producing grapes since the 1880s: a business spanning six generations. Af - ter rescuing the vineyard from possible sale, Hoffmann made it one of the most sought-after in the region and has become a noted spokesperson for Barossa viticul - ture and winemaking. During the seminar, we tasted Hoffmann Vineyards–sourced Grenache, Shiraz, and Mataro (including some older vintages) from Michael Twelftree's Twelftree and Two Hands labels, Russell Johnstone's RBJ Vintners, Paul Heinecke's Soul Growers, and Chris Ringland and Adrian Hoffmann's North Barossa Vintners Collaboration. The Hoffmann Vineyards fruit showed beauti - fully in all of these wines—ripe, full-bodied, and massive with polished tannins and a full complement of spice on the finish. Favorites were the library RBJ 2002 Mataro-Grenache with beautiful bottle bouquet and dusty tannins and the mas - sive Chris Ringland 2012 Dimchurch Cuvée Shiraz, which was essentially black- berry compote in a bottle. Old-Vine Rhônes Across California On Saturday morning, John Alban moder- ated a discussion with vintners Tegan Passalacqua of Sandlands and Turley Wine Cellars and Morgan Twain-Peterson of Bedrock Wine Company. (Twain-Peterson, son of Ravenswood founder Joel Peterson, recently became a Master of Wine and is now one of just two California winemak - ers to hold this distinction.) Both Passalacqua and Twain-Peterson (as well as Joel Peterson) are founders of the Historic Vineyard Society, a nonprofit organization established in 2011 that's dedicated to the preservation of Califor - nia's historic vineyards. Upon application and approval, the HVS will certify any California vineyard currently in production that has an original planting date of at least 50 years ago, as long as at least one-third of the existing producing vines can be traced back to that date. The Bedrock Wine Company 2016 Ode to Frances, a Grenache-based "ode to Châteauneuf-du-Pape" crafted by Twain-Pe - terson, comes from three vineyards planted in the 1880s and 1890s; his Bedrock Wine Company 2015 Gibson Ranch Heritage Wine from McDowell Valley in Mendocino, meanwhile, is a field blend of Syrah, Petite Sirah, and other grapes, some of which are sourced from 9-foot-tall old vines. Another knockout was the Carlisle 2016 Two Acres, a cool-climate Russian River Valley Mataro field blend made by winemaker (and HVS team member) Mike Officer. The wine was suggestively com - plex with deep black-fruit and earth notes. "The Majesty of Guigal" After his glowing introduction by moderator Patrick Will of Guigal's U.S. importer Vintus, winemaker Philippe Guigal joked that he had searched his suitcase thoroughly but found no crown, prompting him to playfully question the title of this seminar. The wines on the table, however, proved the tasting session to be aptly named. For Rhône geeks, Guigal is the revered label that brought Côte Rôtie to prominence. Founded by Etienne Guigal in 1946 and now based at the Château d'Ampuis, which the family acquired in 1995, Guigal is now in its third generation under Philippe. Philippe began the tasting with sev - eral Saint-Joseph wines—a white and six reds—that showed the strength of this oft-overlooked Syrah-based appella - tion. The session concluded with four of Guigal's Côte-Rôties, including the very small-production La Turque from the 2005 vintage. As an awed silence fell over the room, Guigal quipped that the Hospice du Rhône audience was drinking a sizeable percentage of the vintage—a very gener - ous and much appreciated end to a, yes, majestic tasting. Hospice guests attend a tasting seminar. John Alban; Morgan Twain-Peterson, MW; and Tegan Passalcqua discuss historic California Rhône vineyards. PHOTOS COURTESY OF HOSPICE DU RHÔNE Winemaker Philippe Guigal.

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